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Public Questions and Answers

Answers to ninety-five questions submitted by attendees of the Puna CDP kick-off meetings
The Puna CDP Team

Q: Who or what is PlanPacific, Inc.? What is their profit by this?
A: PlanPacific is a planning consulting firm based in Honolulu that works throughout the Hawaiian Islands. About 85% of their work is for government agencies and nonprofit organizations. The remaining 15% is mainly for small residential property owners and for attorneys to provide expert witness testimony. For work such as the Puna Community Development Plan, PlanPacific does not expect to make a profit. Most typically, the firm dedicates more time and effort to a community project than what was originally budgeted, so at least some of the work ends up being volunteer.

Q: Please give names of developer and consultants on county level to help include and integrate Volcano Vision 2020 into the CDP planning process.
A: No developer has been asked to help with the CDP planning process. PlanPacific is the consultant contracted by the county to help develop a Puna CDP that will recognize and utilize local community planning efforts such as "Volcano Vision 2020" and the "Hawaiian Paradise Park Revised Master Plan."

Q: What effort has the Planning Department made to ensure that Plan Pacific does not have any conflicts of interest, including: Any work currently being done or previously done for any landowners on this island and any positions, including advocacy, legal or ideological on planning issues
A:Plan Pacific does not and has not represented any landowners or developers in the Puna District. Several years ago, John Whalen, President of PlanPacific, assisted a friend with the subdivision of an agricultural lot in the Hamakua District to enable his friend's daughter to establish a small farm based on permaculture principles. Currently, Mr. Whalen serves on the board of directors for Scenic Hawai'i, Inc., a non-profit organization that, among other activities, advocates legislation to protect or enhance the scenic beauty of Hawai'i.

The General Plan Elements

Environmental Quality

Q: Will noise control have a part
A: It is doubtful that the CDP will address noise control directly. If the issue is noise generated by incompatible adjacent land uses, then the CDP might possibly recommend that new zoning code standards be developed to address this problem.

Natural Resources and Shoreline

Q: How will the planning process consider Volcano National Park Biosphere reserve designations (UNESCO)
A: It is not expected that the CDP will include policies or objectives that are contrary to the Volcano National Park's designation as an International Biosphere Reserve. The National Park Service will be consulted in the review of the CDP.

Q: Is there a mechanism within this process that may enable limits on native forest deforestation on private land
A: This is a possibility. The first challenge is to determine an acceptable method for categorizing and mapping such areas. The CDP will probably need to rely on mapped inventories available through Federal and State agencies, even though some of this information may not be current.

Public Utilities

Q: Is there a plan for supplying water universally
A: There is no such plan at present because the cost of retrofitting the extensive subdivisions in Puna is extremely high. The plan could include strategies for bringing water to existing subdivisions. The Copies of Central Puna Master Plan will be available to be borrowed at your local libraries - please check for further information on Previous Puna Plan.


Q: Who is responsible to pave the roads in Tiki Gardens?
A: These are private roads, so the subdivision lot owners and/or community association are responsible for paving and maintaining the roads.


Q: How much longer will cesspools be allowed in Puna?
A: Generally speaking, existing cesspools serving individual dwellings may be continued, as long as they are functioning properly and there is no municipal wastewater treatment system being planned to service the area in the immediate future. State and Federal rules require the replacement of large capacity cesspools under certain circumstances. In some instances, there are conflicts between Federal and State rules. For information on what applies to specific situations, refer to the memorandum at the following website:

Land Use

Q: Can there be some sort of incentive to establishing basic businesses such as small neighborhood groceries?
A: This is one of the issues that the CDP could explore, especially in growing residential areas where such services are not presently available.

Q: What is being done or can be done, to prevent Hwy 130 from developing commercially as a series of strip malls?
A: The CDP can be a mechanism for preventing this by establishing land use criteria and restrictions on the issuance of Special Permits for such uses.

Q: What incentives can the county offer to encourage development of four 20 acre parcels zoned commercial and light industrial within HPP?
A: The CDP can explore incentives to achieve this, if it is clear that these uses are desired at those locations.

Q: Do you have any plans to develop in lower Puna? Kalapana? Kapa'ahu area (at the end of the lava road)?
A: It is very doubtful that the CDP would recommend additional development in this remote area, especially in view of the natural hazards that exist there.

Q: Is the county looking to re-zoning agricultural lots that are not being used for agricultural purpose?
A: As a general rule, the County is unlikely to initiate rezoning of agricultural lots that are not presently being used for agricultural purposes. The County is interested in an easier process to change State Land Use Designations for some areas, but this requires action by the State Legislature. The County is willing to consider rezoning of lands used by commercial businesses that have been allowed by Special Permit.

Q: Many Volcano lands are zoned Urban, how can this process help to reduce this potential density?
A: The Urban designation is not County zoning. It is a State Land Use classification made by the State Land Use Commission. The CDP is the process by which questions like these will be examined with the intention of implementing community desires.

Q: Will special design districts be considered involving architectural design?
A: The creation of special design districts could be considered through the CDP process. Candidate areas should already have some evidence of a distinctive design character. If such districts can be identified in Puna, then the CDP could define them, but architectural design standards would need to be developed either in a follow-up ordinance or in voluntary design guidelines.

Q: Is there a way to switch the focus on development to promised Hawaiian Home Lands?
A: Priorities for the development of these lands are set by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and are not under the jurisdiction of the County. While it is doubtful that the CDP will have much influence on DHHL's development schedule, it will attempt to reflect and accommodate DHHL's plans. Hopefully DHHL will also consider the recommendations and conclusions of the CDP as it plans its development of DHHL lands in Puna.

Q: How do we preserve our quality of life with this unprecedented, out of control growth?
A: One of the big challenges in Puna is the significant latent development potential of the extensive subdivisions in the district. The CDP will explore methods to abate or slow the rate of development and point out the lessons learned and the political and legal challenges that have been experienced in other jurisdictions that are attempting to use such methods. A big challenge for the Puna CDP is how to best handle and accommodate growth that has all the legal entitlements and cannot be controlled or limited through traditional zoning regulations.

Q: How does a more decentralized - green, off-grid, sustainable model fit into this planning process?
A: This model could be considered in the CDP process. Some areas of Puna are better candidates for this approach than others due to physical circumstances, cost factors, and the preferences of the affected lot owners and residents.

References and Resources

Q: What is the availability of current demographics?
A: The County of Hawaii Data Book published by the Department of Research and Development can be purchased for $15.00 or you can go to the link for the current data book on this page:

Q: Is there a present baseline or preliminary plan?
A: The County General Plan was updated and approved on February of 2005. You can view the entire plan on the web at

Q: Is there an island-wide soil grade map so that it is transparent to everyone which agricultural land should be set aside?
A: In 2005, the Legislature adopted Act 183, which sets standards, criteria and procedures for identifying "Agricultural Lands of Importance to the State of Hawai`i (ALISH), and mandates the counties to conduct studies and lead a public process to map such lands under their jurisdiction. The ALISH maps are then reviewed and adopted by the State Land Use Commission. Until that process is completed, State law gives preference to the protection of agricultural lands rated "A" and "B" by the Land Study Bureau (LSB) classification and mapping system from the 1960s. LSB maps are available for the island in digital format from the State of Hawai'i Office of Planning at Also, ALISH maps as identified by previous studies conducted by the State Department of Agriculture are available at The County's General Plan also designates "important agricultural lands" in its.
Q: Are you/is anyone looking at Building Permits, auto registrations by district and other things that are affecting or showing growth?
A: The consultant has already analyzed building permit data to provide an estimate of current population in Puna by Census Designated Place. See the Maps section of this site for a map that displays these estimates along with population figures from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 Census to show the pattern of growth in Puna's towns and subdivisions.

Q: What population numbers are being considered in twenty years? Are we planning to get full or to prevent dense population in rural areas?
A: One of the big challenges in Puna is the significant latent development potential of the extensive subdivisions in the district. The CDP will explore methods to abate or slow the rate of development and point out the lessons learned and political and legal challenges that have been experienced in other jurisdictions that are attempting to use such methods. A big challenge for the Puna CDP is how to best handle and accommodate growth that has all the legal entitlements and cannot be controlled or limited through traditional zoning regulations.

Q: Could all the facilitators have copies of Volcano Vision 2020?
A: A physical copy will be available at locations, in Volcano and surrounding areas. Also, we can make copies for you, if requested thru Department of Research and Development. Please check Puna Previous Plan for further information

Regulatory Issues

Q: Is there a way we can educate new landowners and bulldozers drivers about respecting the `aina and doing something beyond clear cutting lots?


Q: In some places in California, landowners must consult officials before removing trees during building process. Could we possibly implement something like this?


Q: Are there steps the county can take now to inform new property owners before a plan is developed on how to clear a lot, such as bull-dozing and development, to be handled in a sensitive manner to the rainforest and land?
A: Some municipalities (not just in California) have enacted ordinances to prohibit the clear-cutting of lots and removal of significant trees for development and provide other guidelines for more eco-friendly land use. Such measures could be considered for Puna and other districts of the Island, but it is likely that the CDP would provide only the policy direction and objectives for more detailed regulations that would be adopted by a separate ordinance.
One idea that has been suggested is production of a pamphlet to educate landowners about the special native plants that may be present on their properties. The pamphlet could be distributed by realtors to new landowners who may be unaware of Hawai`i's unique flora and fauna. It is very possible that landowners are clearing lots, completely ignorant that they are destroying valuable resources on their property. Such a project would ideally be a private, community-based initiative. There are probably private and governmental grants available for such a project.

General Inquiries

Q: What is a sustainable level of growth?
A: This is a question that can be answered only by first defining criteria for "sustainability"as they apply to the Puna District. The CDP process could possibly lead to the development of sustainability criteria that have broad agreement within the region.

Q: How can we have a Puna CDP when the legality of all our subdivision is in doubt? (re: Hokuli'a lawsuit on the Kona side) challenging residential homes on Ag land?


Q: Doesn't the legality of our subdivisions need be addressed? Specifically regarding Hokulia county battle. If the homes in Puna are illegally built on Ag land then we don't have a community?
A: The legality of residential use on ag land is an issue affecting land throughout the County and the State. One solution requires legislative amendments to the State Land Use Law. Another solution, which can be directly addressed by the CDP, is to reclassify appropriate areas from Agricultural to Rural designation. The CDP could also identify which lands really do have agricultural value and should therefore be specially protected.

Plan Implementation

Q: Who will ensure that the plan, once approved will be implemented according to the people's true intent?
A: How well a plan is implemented depends on several factors: 1) clarity and specificity in crafting the implementing actions; 2) feasibility of the implementing actions; 3) an inclusive process in developing the plan so that the community is aware and cares about the plan to become the "keepers of the flame"; 4) indicators to monitor progress and effectiveness of implementation. The more involvement of the community in developing the plan, the greater the chances that the community will take responsibility to see that the plan is implemented.

Q: Is it possible that after we go thru this process for a year that the county council does not approve the plan? If so, then what?
A: With broad input and resolve to address conflicts throughout the planning process, there should be a groundswell of community support for the plan. Council members will also be encouraged to participate throughout the process. If extensive opposition arises at the tail end of the process, then we have not done the job correctly and need to take a hard look in reevaluating the process.

Q: How will the Puna CDP effect and be incorporated into say, Hilo and Kau Plans?
A: There will be six to eight CDPs for all of Hawai`i County. There may be issues that cross CDP boundaries (e.g., the traffic from Puna to Hilo). Once a CDP is completed, we plan to establish a body to succeed the Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of the plan. This body will be involved in discussions where tradeoffs are necessary that impact the communities of several CDPs.

Q: How will priorities be established comparatively, between Kona and Puna and the average household income (priorities meaning % of $ per household and how much does that benefit us. How will those decisions and $ be equitable) and how much will be spent in our district?
A: Allocation of funding should not be based on the amount contributed, but rather on need. If based on amount, the higher value properties in Kona would mean more funding should be spent in Kona irrespective of the need. We hope to develop a rational means to determine need based on "level of service" standards. Funding would then be directed to areas where the level of service is deficient. The CDP will identify needs for public facilities and services.

CDP Funding

Q: Has the CDP received any funding to date?
A: The County Council approved County funding for CDPs in 2005. $150,000
has been earmarked for the Puna CDP. The Planning Department has
requested additional County funding of $100,000 for the Puna CDP. It is
estimated that $250,000 is needed to properly complete the Puna CDP .

Q: Who is paying for all of this?
A: CDPs are being paid for out of County funds.

Q: What funding will the government provide to support implementation of the
people’s true intent?
A: Once the CDP is finished and adopted by ordinance, it will become a document
on which funding decisions will be based. Action recommendations contained
within the adopted CDP will receive priority. Not all of the action
recommendations will require governmental funding. Some may involve
changes in governmental policies and codes. Others may require public and
private partnerships, private grant funding, and/or help of community

Q: How do we integrate State funding (and Federal) with County funding to
implement the Puna CDP?
A: It depends on what is being implemented. For example, if the implementation action involves planning, engineering, and construction of a new highway, Federal, State, and County funding may be required. Each agency brings with it their own set of regulations and legal requirements, and the “integration” and coordination can be complex and time-consuming.

The CDP Process

Q: What was the reason to kick start this planning process?
A: The four “kick-off” meetings were held to help spread the word that a
significant, community-based planning process has begun for Puna. Getting
the word out in a large, spread out, rural area like Puna requires special effort.

Q: Why is the community input phase so short?
A: Community input will be received throughout the process in different venues:
large and small group meetings, workshops, focus groups, and the Steering
Committee. The small group meetings that are being held in March-April-May
are only the beginning. Future workshops and focus group discussions will
also give people a chance to interact with each other and give feedback and
input to the planners. Another round of small group meetings may be held later
in the process, budget permitting. Surveys and questionnaires are another
means of obtaining community input, budget permitting. Additional funding for
the Puna CDP will hopefully be received.

Q: If the community needs more time getting input from the community in the small group meeting phase will we be able to extend the timeline or do we have to be done by the end of May?
Q: Why not more district meetings past April 2006?
A: Numerous requests have already been made to extend the time for small
group meetings. Consequently, we are extending the current small group
meeting phase by about 3 - 4 weeks.

Q: Do the facilitators address concurrency, basic planning statistics and funding
A: The facilitators are community members who are trained in helping meetings
to be productive and to “stay on track.” They faithfully record the ideas that
result from group discussions, make sure that everyone has a chance to
contribute their ideas, and are supposed to remain neutral in group meetings.
Theirs is a critical contribution to the CDP process. However, the role of the
facilitators is not to “address concurrency, basic planning statistics, and
funding mechanisms.” The consultant, Plan Pacific, is already researching
basic statistics and will be exploring concurrency and funding mechanisms.

Q: How do people who aren’t here tonight get involved and participate in the small meetings?
A: We find that word-of-mouth between friends, neighbors, and families is the
most effective way to involve people. We will do what we can to publicize the
small group meetings through newspapers and other media, but we need
people to help spread the word, volunteer to host and organize small group
meetings, and participate whatever way they can. Call the Puna Hotline at
(808) 935-3975 or email to participate in small
group meetings!

Q: What guarantee do we have that individual community will have their input
incorporated into the plan?
A: During the selection of members for the Steering Committee, one of the
criteria will be to have representatives from different geographical areas of the
District. Further, it is up to each community to participate in the meetings and
workshops so that their specific concerns and ideas can be acknowledged and

Q: Are each group types being heard?
A: The small group meetings are intended to reach out to as many “group types” as will get involved. People will be heard to the extent that they choose to participate.

Q: How can a “second home” owner be involved if we’re only here 2 months out of each year?
A: When you are planning to be on the island, you can check the website for public meeting schedules. This web site has current information on the status of the CDP process.

Q: Will there be a Puna plan office in Pahoa?
A: That would be ideal. However, there is no County funding available to
support such an office in Pahoa. We are open to private-public partnerships
that could result in a shared office space staffed by community volunteers, but
until such arrangements can be made, information related to the CDP will be
available in the public libraries and on the website.

Q: How about accommodating transportation for the disabled to the planning
A: We do not have funds for transportation costs. However, all meeting locations are handicapped- accessible.

Q: What if people with very opposing views have points to discuss – who decides which idea will go through?
A: Good question! All ideas are considered, but consensus is built by discussing
differing points of view and arriving at agreements that the majority of the
community feels they can “live with.” The ideas that seem to have broad
consensus will be the ones to “go through.” The ideas over which no
agreement can be reached are set-aside for further dialogue with the
community. Certain issues may be too controversial to be decidedly addressed
in the CDP.

Q: Who will be responsible to insure that the timeline is adhered to? Meetings held as scheduled to meet 2007 final plan for adoption?
A: The Planning Department is responsible for overseeing the completion of the
CDP. The consultant, Plan Pacific, is working under contract to the Planning
Department, and they are working within the same time frame. Time extensions are possible in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Q: As an integral part of Puna, how does an obscure subdivision (Tiki Gardens)
keep from falling through the cracks if and when these plans go into effect?
A: It is important for all landowners and residents in Puna to keep informed and involved in the CDP process to make sure that their ideas and desires are heard and reflected in the plan. This is why there is such an emphasis on public
outreach throughout the CDP process.

Q: How can neighborhoods within the Puna district be allowed to have unique and local guidelines in the regional plan? To meet local, specific in Volcano in
contrast to needs of Paradise Park?
A: This is an important concern that we recognize and share. We will seek the
input and guidance of the Steering Committee in helping to make sure that
local, community-level needs and concerns are not lost in regional planning.
Clearly there are needs and concerns that affect the region as a whole, such as emergency bypasses, alternate routes, public transit, and solid waste
management, while there are more localized decisions to be made regarding
land uses, such as whether village centers are desired and where.

Q: You call us “communities” but in fact we have no rights of self determination,
so how do you prevent input from other areas, such as Mauna Loa Estates to
influence what happens in HPP?
A: Similar to the previous question, this question expresses the concern that
people who don’t live in a particular community could influence what is
decided for that community. The CDP process will need to distinguish between
decisions that should be made at a local community level from those decisions
that have regional and/or island wide implications.

Q: How do smaller communities (Mt. View, Glenwood) fit to larger, already
planned areas like Volcano?
A: The residents of Volcano probably don’t think their area is “already
planned.” Through the small group meetings that are presently being
conducted, the CDP process is providing opportunities for residents of
smaller communities such as Mt. View and Glenwood to get together and
discuss their visions for a desirable future for their immediate surroundings
as well as for the region as a whole. The small group meetings are designed
to encourage discussion that will lead to the development of a vision for a
preferred future.

Q: Please define “village.” Can’t plan it if it is not stated what it is and what will it contain?
A: A “village” in the simplest sense is a small grouping of houses in a country
area that is smaller than a town and may or may not have a formally organized
community association or system of self-governance. Previous planning efforts
in Puna use terms such as “traditional small towns,” “rural town districts,”
“new towns,”and “village centers,” but these terms are described rather than
defined. The village center or town center is a flexible concept rather than a
strict definition that describes a small, centrally located center that provides
services to nearby residential areas. It can contain conveniences such as a
grocery store, gas station, hardware store, restaurant, perhaps a medical clinic, recreation center and sports facilities, or other possible businesses and
facilities. The concept involves bringing work and play opportunities closer to
people’s homes, making it more possible for people to walk and bicycle,
reducing commuting times and dependency on the automobile.

Q: Why are you already using terms like “Village Locations” if this plan is not yet formed and the community is supposed to provide critical input on what the
residents of Puna want?


Q: Are the previous plans automatically accepted?
A: The term, “village center,” is used in several previous planning initiatives in
Puna. Many citizen volunteers contributed to those previous planning efforts.
It is important to use the CDP process to re-examine what has been
recommended in the past and to determine if community consensus presently
exists for those recommendations. We are not assuming anything.

Q: Who would be reviewing the draft plans?
A: There will be a public review period for the Draft CDP. The Steering
Committee (whose meetings shall be open to the public) will be reviewing
interim work products even before the Draft CDP is completed. The Final
CDP is forwarded to the Planning Commission after the Steering Committee
has reviewed it (in public meetings) and recommended its approval.

Q: What connection, if any, will there be between this process and the planning department’s infrastructure/public facilities needs assessment project?
A: The “Infrastructure and Public Facility Needs Assessment Project” is
required prior to the adoption of an Impact Fee Ordinance. Impact fees would
be used to pay for infrastructure and public facilities that are needed to
accommodate new development. The CDP process can identify projects that
may qualify for this source of funding.

Q: How does the State Planning Code HRS 226 fit into the county plan?
A: HRS Chapter 226, deals with planning on a statewide basis. Among other
requirements, it mandates county general plans and their contents. The
Hawai`i County General Plan which was revised in 2005 in turn allows the
Planning Director or Council to initiate CDPs.

Q: What part does the State play in the CDP?
A: Relevant state agencies will be consulted when there are issues involving state jurisdiction, such as the State Department of Transportation regarding
Highways 11 and 130.

Q: Will we be informed of government development plans already approved?
A: The more people are informed, the better they can participate in the planning process. Future CDP workshops and meetings will provide opportunities for people to learn about land uses that have already been approved, developments that are being proposed for the future, as well as what current county zoning and State Land Use District Classifications allow.

Q: Is this plan to be a pro-development plan? An anti-development plan? Or
somewhere in between?
A: Input from the communities and stakeholders will determine the direction and type of growth recommended in the plan.

Steering Committee

Q: Would it be more representative if the community decides who will
represent their community as a steering committee? I.e. have applicants
get signatures from residents, rather than having the county check
ambiguous references.


Q: Who selects members of Steering Committees? Can local communities have
a say in who represents their community? Or will the county select
“rubber stamp” members?
A: A review committee comprised of residents of the Puna District has been
formed by the Planning Department. This committee will review all
applications and make recommendations to the Planning Director.
Background checks are being conducted of all applicants. The applicants will
be reviewed with the goal of assembling a Steering Committee that will be
representative of the diverse interests and perspectives of Puna’s residents. It is important to form a Steering Committee as soon as possible so that the
committee can begin its work. The Planning Director will provide a list of
candidates to the Mayor for his review. As required in the General Plan, the
Mayor appoints the Steering Committee members who must be confirmed by the County Council after several meetings open to the public. This entire process takes months to complete, and it is hoped that the committee will be formed sometime in June before the next series of subdistrict workshops.

The General Plan Elements

Natural Resources and Shoreline

Q: What has already been done to coastline public lands in Puna for parks and
ocean access?
A: In addition to the Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park coastal lands in Puna,
there are a small number of public parks along the Puna coastline utilizing
public lands, such as MacKenzie State Recreation Area, Ahalanui, Isaac Hale,
and Kahakai County Parks, and the Waiopae Tidepools State Marine Life
Conservation District. Needs for more parks and accesses to the ocean should
be addressed in the Puna CDP. Specific locations for future parks and ocean
accesses can also be recommended. Land ownership, safety, maintenance, and
protection of natural and cultural resources are among the concerns that will
need to be considered.

Public Facilities

Q: Are there any future developments for a new Pahoa gym?
A: The future plan for a new County Parks & Recreation gym is to have it located on the same parcel that has been Executive Ordered to the County by the State. The new Pahoa Fire Station and Police Station will be at the same
location. Conceptual plans also include ball fields, a pavilion, and comfort
station. The Department of Education also has plans and State funding for a
new Pahoa gym next to the school.

Q: Does Puna have a youth recreational center or plan to have one?
A: The County recognizes the deficiency of recreational facilities in the Puna
district. Accordingly, the County is in the process of initiating a master
planning effort to create a community center complex in Pahoa on County
owned land that includes the existing pool, ball field, and old fire station. The
community and interested community organizations will be involved in the
planning effort such as the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Bay Clinic, Friends of
the Library, Mainstreet Pahoa, to name a few. The intention is to create a
multi-purpose community complex to serve not only youth recreational but also
cultural and social service needs.

Public Utilities

Q: How come the Director of Dept. of Water is not part of the team?
A: The Director of the Dept. of Water will be consulted as water concerns come
up, just as other directors of other County agencies (such as the Directors of
Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and Environmental Management) will
need to be consulted as needed. State and federal agencies will also be
consulted, as needed (such as the State Departments of Transportation,
Education and Health, and the Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park).

Q: Will Ainaloa/Tiki Gardens have county water and post box?
A: The County Department of Water Supply does not have plans currently to
develop county water systems in the Ainaloa/Tiki Gardens area. Postal service
is the responsibility of the federal U.S. Postal Service, and the county is
unaware of federal plans to expand postal service into those subdivisions.

Q: What is planned on the water development plan?
A: The previous planning study on water development focused only on the Central Puna area (Volcano to Hawaiian Paradise Park). The purpose of the plan was to formulate an overall concept for the backbone water infrastructure. This overall concept was necessary to coordinate the many separate water projects proposed by individual developers and/or community associations. It was never the intent for the Department of Water Supply (DWS) to develop this water system, but rather for DWS to provide technical assistance. The Community Development Plan needs to expand the examination of potable water needs throughout the Puna planning area and propose ways to finance this system.


Q: What is the status of alternative roadway from Puna to Hilo?
A: The Puna Makai Alternate Route (PMAR) needs further study and community
discussions. No alignment for the alternate route has been determined.

Q: Is the shoulder lane by Pohaku Circle going to be open every day all day?
A: When the shoulder lane addition is completed from Shower Drive to the Kea`au Bypass (Hilo-bound side only), it will be open every day all day.

Q: Is there a plan for expansion of route 130 to 4 lanes from HPP to Keaau?
A: The State is planning to proceed with the environmental studies for expansion of Highway 130 from two to four lanes, from the end of the Kea`au Bypass to Pahoa.

Q: Why can’t a second major road be above 41st avenue where there is no
A: While it’s true there are fewer developed lots in that area, the major drawback to locating a second major road in that location is that it would add to the travel distance for the commuter by being located further away from the population that is commuting to Hilo. While land acquisition might cost less there, it may not be an attractive alternative to Highway 130 for the majority of commuters.

Q: Are there plans to turn “Railroad” into an escape route? Who is
responsible for main access roads in HPP? County or HPP?
A: The Railroad Right-of-Way would need to be acquired. It is more suitable as a pedestrian and bicycle trail in its present condition and would need to be
improved before it could be used as an emergency, vehicular escape route.
Hawaiian Paradise Parks’ roads are privately owned and the responsibility of
Hawaiian Paradise Park landowners.

Q: Does the county have plans to create bus shelters where people can wait out of the rain while waiting for the Hele-on bus? Who is responsible for this?
A: The County’s Transit Agency has plans on establishing bus stops throughout
the island. They are currently working with an architect to design the bus

Q: How much will the community development plan include public
transportation solutions to the traffic congestion?
A: Public Transportation is an important component in the overall effort to
reduce traffic congestion. The CDP offers the opportunity to get more specific about solutions to traffic congestion that include public transportation, pedestrian and bicycle paths, as well as improvements to the highway system.

Q: What is the purpose for widening Paradise Drive? Will it include a bike
and pedestrian path?
A: The widening of Paradise Drive is a privately funded and managed project of
the Hawaiian Paradise Park Owners Association. These questions need to be
addressed by the HPPOA which has a website:

Q: How can we improve undeclared roads that were paved in the 50’s?
A: Roads are particularly challenging. It is important to determine who owns the road and whether it is under any governmental jurisdiction. Answering those questions helps to reveal where the funding would need to come from for road improvements and what standards for road improvement may be required. The County Department of Public Works is presently asking the islandwide community to help them with an inventory of the “Roads in Limbo” which are roads that are publicly owned but neither the state nor the county is
maintaining them.


Q: We (Police) need communication down in lower Puna (Kalapana, Pohoiki,
etc.) and this is an immediate safety issue. How soon can we hope to have
some problems alleviated?
A: Unfortunately, the communication capability went down due to a technical
problem with the radio equipment on the tower in lower Puna. The Police
Department is working on obtaining replacement equipment. They consider
this high priority and hope to have the power restored within a short period of
time. In order to avoid an officer safety issue, the Puna District officers have
been responding to calls in lower Puna in pairs.


Q: Is there a waste water treatment plant planned?
A: According to the Department of Environmental Management, none are
planned for Puna District.

The CDP Process

Q: How will this plan address concurrency for public infrastructure?
A: We hope that the CDP leads to a process to encourage investment in public
infrastructure that occurs along with the growth of the area. The plan could
include concurrency policies that can be agreed upon. Actual implementation
of concurrency for public infrastructure will require the County to:
  1. Inventory existing infrastructure and capacity;
  2. Assess deficiency to serve existing development;
  3. Project future growth and demand;
  4. Estimate costs to remedy existing deficiency and meet future growth
  5. demands;
  6. Recommend a financing plan that attempts to match who benefits to
  7. who pays; and
  8. Implement a financing plan that would account for future development.
In some localities, concurrency is used as a regulatory tool that limits rezoning
or new subdivisions until adequate public infrastructure has been built. In
Puna, however, most development will be the construction of homes on lots by
individual owners in subdivisions already approved, so it will be difficult to use
concurrency effectively as a regulatory tool.


Q: Is the CDP intending to implement the General Plan? If so, what happens if
the community’s wants and needs contradict the General Plan? Who decides?


Q: Once the CDP is adopted as “ordinance,” can it be modified? If so, how can
it be modified?

A: The General Plan states: “In the process of creating the Community
Development Plan, it may be determined that the General Plan should be
amended. The Planning Director or County Council may initiate amendments
to the General Plan, and the steering committee may recommend amendments,
that would be enacted at the same time as the Community Development Plan, or as a follow-up to the Community Development Plan. If there is a direct conflict between the Community Development Plan and the General Plan, the General Plan shall be controlling.” Once the CDP is adopted as an ordinance, the procedures for subsequently amending the CDP would follow the same
procedures required for amending ordinances. The full text of the General
Plan can be found at

Land Use

Q: How does Enterprise Zone fit into CDP? Perhaps into mix use to alleviate
auto dependency?
A: Don’t understand the second question. Being that areas within Puna District
are among the officially designated Enterprize Zones of Hawai`i Island, the
CDP offers the opportunity to identify and promote action recommendations for
economic stimulation that would utilize and perhaps strengthen the existing EZ
program in Puna.

Q: What is the status of Geothermal Direct Use to promote agriculture and
A: The County of Hawai'i is in the process of studying the feasibility of direct
(non-electric) uses of geothermal heat in the Kapoho/Pohoiki area of Puna.
The goal of this study is to take the first steps to develop a geothermal enterprise park that will benefit the community. The feasibility study is scheduled to be completed by February 2007. Information regarding geothermal direct use applications is available on-line at the following web sites:

Regulatory Issues

Q: Why aren’t the planning rules enforced? Example: many of my neighbors
are subdividing but aren’t required to improve the road ways, they get a
variance subdivide and sell. The population increase the private roads get all
busted up. I have to sell out lots of my own money to repair.
A: Subdivision variance applications are reviewed and approved by the Planning Department according to Chapter 23 Division 2 of the Hawai`i County Code. To read what the code says about subdivision variance criteria and
requirements go to If your
neighbors have successfully obtained variances that allow them to subdivide
and sell their properties, they have succeeded in using the variance process
provided in County law. The variance application requires that all neighbors
within 300 feet of the perimeter boundary of the subject property be notified by mail that a variance is being applied for, when the Planning director will
consider the application, and the deadline for the director’s receipt of written
comments on the application. Additionally, the Code requires posting of a sign
on the subject property, notifying the public of the nature of the variance
application. Further, if there are objections to the director’s written decision,
any person can file an appeal to the Board of Appeals within thirty days of the
director’s written decision. Procedures for filing appeals to the Board of
Appeals are outlined at
under Board of Appeals Rules of Practice and Procedure.

General Inquiries

Q: What are we doing to promote self-sufficiency and sustainability? If a
global pandemic strikes (such as mutated form of bird flu) Hawaii will run
out of food in six days.
A: The State of Hawaii established a Hawaii 2050 task force to review the Hawaii state plan and other fundamental components of community planning, and to develop recommendations on creating the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan. The Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan will define and implement state goals,
objectives, policies, and priority guidelines for sustainable island development.
Russell Kokubun, Senator from Hawai`i Island, is the chair of the task force.

Q: Where will faith based organizations that serve the community with food
pantries fit in to the plan?
A: At this time, it is not clear whether there is a need for faith-based organizations to be specifically mentioned in the plan.

Q: My property is land locked by the county, what do I do?
A: It is difficult to answer this question without knowing all the circumstances.
For questions about specific properties, call the Planning Department at 961-
8288, have the Tax Map Key number to the property handy, and ask to speak to a staff person who can help with this type of question. Alternatively, stop by the Hilo Planning Office at 101 Pauahi Street, to determine how to begin the
process of figuring out what can be done.

Q: Can lava zones be mitigated or changed for insurance purposes?
A: Volcano Hazard Zones are determined by the U.S. Geological Survey agency
which bases its determinations on extensive, scientifically collected data. It is
hard to imagine how natural phenomena, such as lava inundation zones
could ever be “mitigated” by humans. Insurance companies are held
financially accountable for the properties that they insure, and it is in their
interests to rely on scientifically determined information.

Q: Can CC&R’s be affected/changed?
A: Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are private covenants
recorded with the State Bureau of Conveyances. Check with an attorney
regarding the procedures for changing CC&Rs.


We are currently in the process of migrating this website to the main Planning Department site.
Information on this site may not be up to date.
Please go to our official new website here for more information.

Please contact us at if you have any questions.

Mahalo for your patience and understanding!